This spring COVID-19 has impacted our K-12 education system: four ways the Church can pray
As winter comes to an end and flowers and fields springs forth in their seasonal glory, I had hoped to focus on promoting the NHCLC’s Bibles and Becas educational initiative which encourages churches to give Hispanic children a Bible and “seed money” for college during their baby dedication, christening, or baptism ceremony. However, given that our churches, schools, and every facet of our society face an invisible threat to our health and well-being, we must prudently adjust the focus of our prayers and efforts in our ministry of advancing Hispanic student achievement.
Across the nation numerous public and private K-12 schools faced the difficult decision to close their doors to help curve the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) among students and teachers, though the Centers for Disease Control’s considerations on school closures warn it may also increase impact on older adults who care for grandchildren. Nonetheless, school closures have left parents, families, and communities with educational, vocational, or simply logistical circumstances that they never expected or prepared themselves to address.
As people of faith the Scriptures command us not to worry, despite how difficult of a task that might seem at the moment, but rather “in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving [to] let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6). During the season of school closures in America, would you join me in taking the following petitions before the sovereign God?
- God’s Healing Touch—Countless health experts continue to work around the clock to better understand COVID-19 and to create a solution to combat this virus. We pray for the health and well-being of those already affected by this virus, many of whom are schoolchildren, and for those most likely than others to become severely ill from the virus, such as the elderly and people with chronic and pre-existing health conditions. We ask the Lord to protect them from harm and grant them comfort in this time of uncertainty.
- Parental Wisdom—Parents and guardians who work full-time must determine how to provide sufficient care for their children while continuing to work, and parents who have the convenience of staying home must decide how to keep their children productively learning and occupied. We ask the Lord to restore traditional family and community support systems that give parents the assurance that their child is cared for, and until the current season changes we ask for God to lead parents to high quality K-12 e-learning and home-school resources that keep their child on the path toward college- and career-readiness.
- Care for the Vulnerable Student Population—Some public-school students come from lower-income families or some parents have recently been let go from jobs and sectors hit hardest by the virus’ economic side-effects. Families worry how they will provide for their children. Additionally, in the U.S. about 30.3 million students receive free or reduced-price lunches at public schools. The reality of school closures has raised the concern of how families who relied on the school cafeteria to provide often 10 meals for their children a week will continue to give their children convenient access to much needed meals. We ask the Lord to supply for the needs of every family in the U.S. and that America’s most vulnerable students will not go without sufficient food and nutrition in their homes.
Lastly, on our list:
- Wisdom for Educational Leaders—One issue facing education leaders is that March historically marks the start of the season in which K-12 students take state-wide exams in math, English language arts and science, and it is likely that many students will be out of school the whole month and possibly some for the remainder of the schoolyear. Statewide assessment results matter because they provide parents with important performance scores that help them evaluate student and school performance and provide education policymakers with data that better informs future decisions and policies that can support low-performing students or often neglected groups, such as English Learners. We pray that our educational leaders act in the best interest of our community to ensure that no student or groups of students get overlooked or goes without an honest look into his or her academic progress.
We never anticipated spring in America would be characterized by a health pandemic that would lead to city- and state-wide school closures, but there has never been a better time for Christians to pray because we know that prayer unites us and moves the hand of God. Thank you for joining with the FE Coalition in praying for these urgent needs in America’s schools. May the Lord give you a spirit of power, love, and a sound mind (2 Tim. 1:7).
Forward and higher in Christ,
Rev. Girien R. Salazar
Executive Director, FE Coalition